• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

The summer visit to Caltech is 3-4 days long and is the only time during the year of work when all the participants on the team come together in person to work intensively on the data. Generally, each educator may bring up to two students to the summer visit that are paid for by NITARP, and they may raise funds to bring two more. The teams work at Caltech; the summer visit typically includes a half-day tour of JPL, which is a favorite site for group photos. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The SHIPs team came to visit in June 2013. The core team educators attended, plus 9 students.


  • [student:] The fact that neither the teachers nor the researchers knew all the "answers" to the research we were doing was surprising. Unlike school where the teacher generally knew the answer, the research we participated in this past week was totally new to everyone, including the teachers. That type of situation was a great experience and will prepare me for future experiences in the work world. [Our mentor scientist] said "You don't always have to know the answer; just how to find it." During the trip we were taught how to find answers by analyzing data and using prior knowledge instead of simply memorizing facts and formulas.
  • [student:] The most interesting thing for me on this trip was that we were able to work with real astronomers who were doing the same research that we were.
  • [student:] It wasn't necessarily as surprising as it was relieving to find out that everyone was generally in the same boat as far as knowledge went. I was a bit nervous to go on the trip because Python and photometry were very new to me. But after discovering that it was new to everyone, it became a collaborative effort that I really enjoyed, and it never seemed like a competition.
  • [student:] I always thought that astronomers just look into the sky with microscopes and make observations, but they do so much more than that. They are able to use tools to make further observations and do research. It's not easy being an astronomer and I have so much respect for what they do.
  • [student:] The best thing about the trip was meeting all of the other students and teachers who were working on the same research as us. It was nice to be able to come together and compare our research and learn together as a group.

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs